In the wake of the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, people in Wellington have opened their homes to take in those stranded at the airport by the disruption of air services.

Airport authorities said they had received hundreds of offers of accommodation and had found beds for all passengers who wanted them.

Flights across New Zealand were grounded immediately after the Christchurch earthquake, local media reports.

According to Auckland Airport spokesman Richard Llewellyn, the national air traffic control centre is in the South Island city and has to be checked to make sure it’s okay. No planes are scheduled to take off.

Christchurch hospitals open for serious casualties only

65 dead in New Zealand earthquake

The earthquake in Christchurch may have trapped up to 200 people beneath collapsed buildings. 65 people have been confirmed dead.

Tonight, construction workers and rescue teams are working under floodlights trying to dig out survivors and from buildings flattened by the earthquake that devastated the city. Police have reported “multiple fatalities” at several locations in downtown Christchurch.

The death toll is already the second highest from a New Zealand earthquake — outranked only by the 256 people killed in the violent 7.9 1931 Hawke’s Bay quake, 70 years ago.

Today’s quake followed the massive 7.1 shake on September 4 last year but its effect were much more severe.

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The Ministry of Civil Defence are asking that in order to minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people use text messaging to check if family and friends are safe.

British nationals concerned for British family and friends in New Zealand should contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for consular advice:

You can donate to the Red Cross appeal here: